In Contagious, Berger lays out the STEPPS to creating something contagious – or viral. STEPPS is an acronym that describes the qualities needed. They are:
The two things that were most interesting to me were the ideas of social currency and triggers.
Social currency says that “We share things that make us look good.” This is intuitive on many levels, but I had never thought about it in terms of viral content. Does what you are creating make people seem cool or in the know if they are aware of it? If so, they want to tell others. It’s a kind of humble brag. “I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know about this cool thing,” is really just a way of showing people how cool you are for knowing about it in the first place.
Triggers says that what is “Top of mind is tip of tongue.” The more you are inclined to think about something, the more likely you are to share it. Again, intuitive when stated so plainly, but interesting to think about it practice. If someone were to ask you which gets talked about more, Walt Disney World or Honey Nut Cheerios, you would likely say Disney World. It is an incredibly fun and exciting experience, especially for children. But, in reality, Cheerios are discussed much more. Why? Because you have breakfast every day. So, on any given day, you are more likely to think about breakfast and cereal than Disney World, which is a much rarer event.
All of the STEPPS have interesting stories and anecdotes to show their validity – all backed by research. The book is an easy read and gives you the high-level information you need to increase the potential for your creations to become contagious.
I can’t wait to test some of the ideas in practice with new and innovative ideas – either mine or my clients.